Postdoctoral fellowship: Sea ice AI/ML for Cross-Disciplinary Sea Ice Feature Detection

The Ice, Climate, and Ecosystem (ICE) Remote Sensing Lab at the University of Victoria is looking for a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in sea ice geophysics and remote sensing to fill a fully funded, full-time, 1 year position renewable to another year subject to performance and funding availability. Please apply by December 15, 2021.

Some prior experience in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) methods is desirable, but not required. We are looking for expertise in sea ice and remote sensing, to work with experts in the AI/ML field.


The successful candidate will contribute to a collaborative, multidisciplinary, research project dedicated to the application of Earth Observation technologies (satellite and autonomous) to map features and conditions with cross-cutting applications. In particular, features with relevance in the domains of both climate and the safety of Arctic residents will be examined. The successful candidate will work closely with experts in AI, particularly leading-edge ML methods, in the University of Victoria’s Computer Science Department, as well as partners that have developed mobile and web platforms used to support maritime situational awareness, multidisciplinary scientific research, sea ice safety, two-way knowledge exchange with Inuit users, and Inuit self-determination. Specifically, the project will explore the use of Earth Observation data from existing satellite radar, optical, and altimetry missions, as well as autonomous ice/ocean and meteorological monitoring sensors, to develop sea ice status data for training ML/DL algorithms for recognition of sea ice features in the Canadian Arctic. Input data sources may include, but are not limited to, the Copernicus Programme’s Sentinel satellites, the Canadian RADARSAT Constellation Mission, altimeters, ice buoys, and weather/climate data. Information products will be developed, evaluated, and delivered to scientists and Arctic users through existing web applications, enabling reciprocity with Arctic residents and refinement before final mobilization. Initial focus will be on identifying open water areas (polynyas), thin ice areas, and deformed ice areas. Identification of these features has potential applications to other atmosphere-ice-ocean related research domains such as ice dynamics and biogeochemistry, and the successful candidate will have opportunities to collaborate with sea ice researchers and climate scientists.


The project is well suited to applicants with a strong background in one or more of the following: sea ice geophysics, remote sensing, polar oceanography, geography, or climate science. Knowledge in remote sensing, with a focus on cryosphere geophysics is expected, along with skills in statistical data analysis and scientific programming (Python, R, Matlab, IDL or similar). The applicant should hold a PhD, however a PhD in ABD status will be considered on an exceptional basis. The successful candidate will be expected to disseminate results at international conferences and in leading scientific journals.

*Further Information*

The position will include a generous salary and travel support for conference and collaboration activities. Applications are especially encouraged from members of groups experiencing barriers to equity in the physical sciences. The ideal start date is January 1, 2022, though an alternate start date may be considered.

To apply, please email a CV, cover letter including a summary of previous research, and the contact information for 2 referees, all in PDF format, to Dr. Randy Scharien (randy@uvic.ca) by the closing date of December 15, 2021.

Please feel free to contact Randy Scharien by email or phone (+1 250-853-3577) with informal enquiries.

In addition to the posted positions, we are always looking for talented people who have a passion for cryosphere and remote sensing research.  At this time, we are particularly interested in hearing from students and postdocs with experience in the following fields:

[1] Microwave remote sensing of the cryosphere; [2] snow and sea ice geophysics; and [3] microwave scattering modelling.

If you’re interested in pursuing opportunities in these areas, or if you think your research interests overlap with anything you read on this webpage, please contact Randy Scharien at randy [at] uvic.ca.